Welcome! We are always happy to see new faces at Trinity Episcopal Church. Our Sunday services are at 7:30am, 9:00am (with Children’s Chapel), 11:15am (with Children’s Chapel), and 7:00pm (Contemplative service). We have Sunday School for all ages, including adults, at 10:30am. All are welcome in The Episcopal Church: we really do mean all, no matter who you are, or what you do, or don’t believe. Here is what to expect on a typical Sunday at Trinity Church:
When you arrive at Trinity, near the corner of Wool & Figueroa Streets in Folsom, you will find parking all along Wool, and along the alley in the middle of the block-where you will also find handicap parking. There is some street parking in front of the church on Figueroa, including another handicap spot. The blue and white building on the corner is the church office, and the church is right next door. There are several steps up to the front doors of the church, and there is a ramp, wide enough for wheelchairs on the right side of the building. Restrooms are in the parish hall behind the church, an usher can direct you.
Ushers will greet you at the front doors of the church, and give you a Sunday service bulletin. The ushers are a good source for any questions you may have before, or during the service. If you have any special needs, like you are unable to come up to the rail for Communion, but would still like to receive, tell an usher and they will let the priest know. There are blue visitor cards in the pew rack in front of you. We would love for you to fill one out to let us know a little about you and your visit with us today. On your way out, you can hand it to a member of the clergy or put it in the red boxes on the inside of the front doors. We do not take up an offering during our church services, but if you would like to make a donation, you can use one of the envelopes in the pews and put it in the red boxes on the inside of the front doors.
If you have children, we have a Children’s Chapel (appropriate for ages 3-8, give or take a year or two) in the Annex at 9am and at 11:15am; the children join us in the church for Communion. We also have wonderful nursery care in the Annex for the tiny ones from 9am until 12:30pm, so you can attend either the 9am or 11:15am services and Sunday School for adults at 10:30am during the program year. If you wish to take your youngsters to either place, the ushers will be happy to direct you. Your children are also welcome to stay in church with you. We are happy to have kids in church with us, and don’t mind a little extra noise. Crayons, coloring sheets, and children’s comic book-style Bibles are available from the ushers.
Have a seat anywhere you like; people will be happy to share a pew with you. Before the service some organ or piano music will be played, and the custom is to be silent, pray, and reflect before worship begins. At the ringing of the bell, everyone stands and sings the first hymn while the altar party processes to the front of the church. The words to the hymns can be found in the Hymnal, the larger blue book in the pew rack, the smaller book, either red or black, is our Book of Common Prayer and contains all the words of our services, but our bulletin has everything you need for the service to make it easier to follow if you aren’t familiar with Episcopal worship.
Episcopalians are known for sitting, standing, kneeling, and even some “wandering around” during services. You may follow along or just sit and observe. Basically, we stand to sing, sit to learn, and kneel to pray. Also, you will notice that some of us bow when the cross passes, or genuflect (bend one knee to the ground), or cross ourselves at certain times during the service. These are signs of respect and reverence to God and Jesus Christ. These practices vary greatly among our parishioners; you will not stick out if you do not make any of these gestures, as not everyone does.
You will hear Old Testament and New Testament readings, read by a church member (lay reader) who comes forward to the lectern. In between readings there will be a Psalm, usually read together by the entire congregation, and another hymn. For the Gospel reading, the priest will process to the middle of the church accompanied by acolytes carrying candles and the Gospel book. The congregation will turn to face the Gospel book, and as a sign of respect everyone who is able should stand during the reading of the Gospel.
After the Gospel lesson, there’s a sermon, usually but not always from one of our priests. Following that, we stand to recite the Nicene Creed, an ancient statement of the basic beliefs shared by most Christian denominations. Then we share in the “Prayers of the People” which vary by the week depending on whom or what needs praying for. You will hear people offer up names of folks they are asking prayers for. They may even just say “thank you for this beautiful day”. Some people stand and others kneel for these prayers.
As we read aloud our prayer of confession, many people will kneel. You may remain seated or stand if it is more comfortable. Next the priest will proclaim God’s forgiveness of your sins, and a hearty ”May the Peace of the Lord be always with you,” to which we respond, “And also with you!”
Now here is where the “wandering around” part comes in. You may join in or just observe what we call “the Peace,” a time to shake hands with a neighbor, and to greet those with whom you are worshipping, by simply saying to them “Peace”. Some people will leave the pew to exchange the Peace with others, but it isn’t a time to chat with one another (that’s coffee hour!) Soon everyone is back in their seats.
The priest will then share any announcements for the day. This will give you an idea of what is happening in our parish. Many parents will go and get their children from the nursery at this time, and the Children’s Chapel will come in. This time can be a little chaotic, as the kids are looking for Mom or Dad! The priest will invite anyone that would like a blessing for a birthday, anniversary, thanksgiving, or traveler’s prayer to come forward. Sometimes parents will accompany little ones if they are too shy to come up alone.
The next part of the service is Holy Eucharist (an ancient Greek word meaning Thanksgiving), also called Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Mass, or the Sacrament. This is bread and wine, which Episcopalians believe become the body and blood of our savior Jesus Christ, after they are consecrated or blessed. The bulletin will guide you through the prayers and responses.
In The Episcopal Church all baptized Christians, no matter their denomination, are welcome to take Communion. The ushers will come by the pews, from front to back to invite you to go forward to the altar rail. Most people kneel at the altar rail, but you may stand if you desire, if kneeling is a challenge. The priest will place a wafer in your open hands. If you have a dietary restriction that requires you to avoid gluten, please tell the priest when he reaches you, and he will give you a gluten-free wafer. If you wish to receive a blessing instead of taking Communion, simply cross your arms over your chest, and the priest will bless you instead of giving you a Communion wafer. The chalice bearer will follow the priest and offer you the cup to drink the wine; you may guide the cup to your lips and tip it to sip from it, or if you would rather not take the wine, simply cross your arms in front of your chest and the chalice bearer will pass you. If you do not wish to come to the altar rail for Communion or a blessing, you may stay in your seat; no one will think it strange or judge you.
We finish with a post-Communion prayer, a blessing from the priest, and sing another hymn as the priest and the altar party recess to the back of the church. A final dismissal from the priest and out the door we go, to coffee hour, Sunday School, or whatever else our day holds for us! Coffee hour is usually held in the Parish Hall or the courtyard behind it. The Sunday School meets at 10:30am until 11:10am; the class for adults is in the main room of the Parish Hall, the middle and high school classrooms are also in the Parish Hall, and the classrooms for younger children are in the Annex near the nursery and the Children’s Chapel. Ask any member of staff, or anyone else, and we’ll be happy to help you find where you’re going.